I am a “digital nomad” conducting independent research on the theoretical foundations of epidemiologic methodology and medical statistics.
I am originally from Oslo, Norway. In 2015, I defended my doctoral thesis in epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and subsequently completed a year-long post-doctoral fellowship in meta-science at Stanford University. Before I began my doctoral studies, I completed medical school at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and worked for 18 months as an intern physician in Norway.
I have used the somewhat pretentious title “Medical Philosophy” to indicate my interest in meta-level discussion around the following themes:
My primary academic interest is research on how to do research. In particular, I am motivated by questions about how we obtain new knowledge about the consequences of medical interventions, whether we can trust the medical literature to find the correct answers, what the sources of uncertainty are, and how we can evaluate whether we believe the conclusions of a given paper. As part of my doctoral thesis, I have conducted research on the logic that underlies study design for comparative effectiveness research, with a particular focus on questions about timing of medical interventions, and on the use of active comparators.
In the future, I also hope to contribute to the fields of global health and medical ethics. In particular, I am interested in the ethics of resource allocation and in end-of-life issues. I am a founding member of the Harvard University graduate student society for Effective Altruism, and I am a strong supporter of legislation to allow death with dignity for individuals with terminal disease.
Taxonomic questions often lead to controversy in medicine, for example in the context of psychiatric disease and the DSM-V manual. I am interested in contributing to a discussion about what it means to categorize a cluster of symptoms as a “disease” and about the desirable features of such disease classification schemes. Resolving these questions will require a solid grounding in medical ontology.
In general, I am strongly committed to a correspondence theory of truth, to a Bayesian epistemology and to a consequentialist ethics influenced by prioritarianism. My primary philsophical influencers include Russell, Hilbert, Tarski, Quine and Popper. Among contemporary thinkers, I am heavily influenced by Jamie Robins, Judea Pearl, Daniel Kahneman and Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I self-identify as a member of the online rationalist community built around the blog Less Wrong, and have also been deeply influenced by Eliezer Yudkowsky, Robin Hanson and Scott Alexander.